Awards Baloney

February 19th, 2019

We are in that self-congratulatory quarter of the year when the film and entertainment industry goes into overdrive. A time when award winners, particularly in Hollywood, have to “speak out” to protect others’ lives. When those watching know it is all an affectation to satisfy their own ego, career and global viewpoint, nothing more. Move on.

Disciplined Surprises

February 18th, 2019

How many unsolicited referrals or other surprises (invites to networking events, speaking opportunities, media/PR opportunities) have you received since New Year? Do you want or rather need more?

Ask yourself, when did you last meet or call the 25 best sources of new ideas for your business growth in the prior 3 years? I am not talking about email or reading and responding to posts on social media. I am referencing unfettered time spent together in a business or social setting. I bet for some reading this the response is weeks, months or even years.

Given the quantum of changes happening within your organisation and externally with your clients, is that wise? Make a note in your physical or electronic calendar, to call and set those meetings up at a rate of 10 calls per week.

My guess is that within the month of April, you will have more opportunities than the entirety of the first quarter of 2019.

We’re Putting The Band Back Together

February 15th, 2019

So you want to put your old team together, do a few gigs with past clients, get some bread? Bang! Five million bucks.

Here is the litmus test for those aspiring corporate executives and entrepreneurs seeking to “go again” in a new corporate or entrepreneurial venture, based on hundreds of situations I have been privy to:

  1. Do those market needs that were fundamental to our past success exist today? Can we anticipate market needs for our expertise resulting from impending changes in technology, regulation, demographics, distribution, capital flows and so on? Can we create new market needs for our expertise that our clients have not thought about before?
  2. Do we collectively possess superior capabilities to address those needs in today’s and tomorrow’s marketplace, not in a prior existence or environment? For example, in an electronic trading environment, a commodities or an insurance broker’s past competitive advantage – their interpersonal competencies (face-to-face negotiation) and “black book” of contacts – has been significantly eroded in this century. Equally, success in a large corporate setting is notoriously difficult to replicate in a small entrepreneurial business, irrespective of time (skills, behaviours, expertise).
  3. Do we possess the requisite enthusiasm today, and in future, to undertake the work? In other words, are we ignoring the fact that our colleagues aren’t the same people they used to be 3 or 30 years ago. We are constantly changing, as is our interests, courage and risk tolerance.

Only in the movies to paraphrase Elwood, are you not going to get caught out if you cannot sincerely answer “Yes” to all of the above unless you believe you are on a mission from God!

Be My Valentine

February 14th, 2019

Do you know who, in a business setting, your prospective business partners are “sleeping with”? I include those that they have formal alliances with and those that they have informal ties to, and the obligations inherent in those relationships. I raise the point because often in an unstructured transactional setting with ultra high net worth individuals, a full or partial sale of a business or an asset may involve culturally diverse parties, an extended chain of communication and overt secrecy. Time is short and excitement rises fast, what is not said (taken on trust) or not researched may be more important to your future relationship (loss of power and control) than what is said.

Reciprocal Promises

February 13th, 2019

“What was in it for you?” The reciprocal promise (future reward, referral, advice and so on) most people seeking “free help” in for-profit businesses rarely fulfil (no commitment, no urgency, no need), and those offering it, rarely hold them to account on. Sound painfully familiar?

The Next Big Thing

February 4th, 2019

In my business transition advisory work, I find 80% of entrepreneurs and executives in high-growth and mid-sized businesses very clear about the preferred outcome for the business, 50% very clear about the simplest path to it, 20% very clear about their own ideal future post-transition and less than 10% very clear on the optimum way to get “there”. Why? They’ve consciously or unconsciously ceded power and control to others, not prioritised themselves, or worse, they are in hiding behind a veil of procrastination. Have I hit on a very uncomfortable truth?

Pull up a chair, eliminate the distractions and let’s resolve now to clearly, and unambiguously, answer the three most important questions:

  1. What am I tremendously passionate about?
  2. What rare and powerful combination of skills, behaviours and expertise do I uniquely possess or could quickly develop?
  3. Where would the application of those talents have a transformational impact on the future of (enter organisation name), and its’ key constituents (enter clients, employees, investors, board members, business partners, suppliers names and so on)?

Armed with that level of clarity, what stops you setting aside time now in your diary to meet with those individuals? For many of my clients, it is really one of three reasons: you don’t trust your own judgement (“I am unfamiliar who’d have a need for me outside what I know”), you don’t see a need (“opportunities will come to me”), or you don’t see the urgency to do it (“I’ll get around to it once my immediate business goals are met”). Some site money as an excuse but that is very rarely the case unless you are broke.

The harsh truth is without the discipline, hard work and talent, to make it happen now, it will rarely lead to a desirable personal conclusion. You’ll end up forever circling half-explored opportunities, amid growing frustration of wanting to get “stuck into something”. When you do have the need post-transition, finding the “right opportunity” is incredibly difficult (your ideal relationships and interactions have changed markedly). Finally, you find perhaps for the first time, in the case of entrepreneurs, founders and executives on “exit”, you are beholden to others’ timing and priorities, which don’t align with your own.

Hiring qualified experts like me (depth and breadth of insight globally supported by a track record of success) can demonstrably help, strategically, where you are seeking validation of your own judgement, and tactically, pathways to ideal names, monthly accountability or creation of a post-transition structure “in waiting”. For example, the entrepreneur, who decides that he wants to invest in other entrepreneurs or the executive, who wants to work with private investors or philanthropic initiatives. However, it is really down to you and your desire to mitigate the risks of an unsatisfactory outcome.

It Is Not You

January 30th, 2019

There are some prospects, clients, employees and investors, who irrespective of your thought, word and deed will never be satisfied. They are the individuals that drain your time, energy and resources disproportionately. You do they, and you, a disservice by “hanging in” there by all means or hoping times will change. They won’t, move on.

Overcoming Failure

January 29th, 2019

How often do you hear, particularly in small businesses, when after taking a moderate risk that entails putting faith in others, and doesn’t pan out as predicted, frustrated responses such as “we cannot go on with this, we are worse off than we were yesterday.” The point of being in business is to continue taking prudent risk, not cease. We should be asking ourselves after a disappointing result, “what have we learned, and with that knowledge, is there a simpler alternative that gets us faster to our goal within our risk tolerance?”

Digital Presence and Present

January 23rd, 2019

If you consciously maintain a “digital presence” and seek to be “present” in the lives of those who matter most to you (business clients, colleagues, friends, family and interest groups), why do you cease to be original or relevant? I have to laugh when I see people retweeting or posting to their LinkedIn or Facebook followers, a David Bowie BBC Newsnight interview from 1999 on the disruptive influence of the internet for the ten thousandth time, as if by association, “they” have something to say of earth shattering interest. I speak as a Bowie fan.

Surely the point of a “digital presence” is to create the simplest and therefore the fastest way, for others to gain “access” to YOU as a person and/or your business. Secondly for YOU to be digitally, if not physically, “present” with something compelling, relevant and valuable to contribute to the life they wish to lead today, and in future, not two decades ago!

On the other hand, perhaps this whole “digital presence” mularkey is just a euphemism for a year long cocktail party and showing off to vacuous friends, clients and work colleagues about the life they so wish they had, nothing more?

Ultra High Net Whims

January 22nd, 2019

I receive a call a week from someone working on a deal with a wealthy individual or single family office that starts with “on a whim, they’ve turned 180 degrees on my advice”. Quit whining to others. The whole point of their wealth is that they have absolute independence and freedom to make the choices that they see fit, at any moment in time. If that is where you seek to invest your time and to mitigate your risk, at every step until the cash is in the bank, I’d suggest from first-hand experience that you need plans B, C and D. Not out of disloyalty but absolute common sense.